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Q. I think your website is so great at giving advice. I’ve consulted it many times in times of stress and you’ve come through with answers each time! But I do have one question that I’ve been wondering about: how do you know if your jeans are too tight? I’m not talking about muffin tops—let’s say they fit perfectly at the waist, but how do you know you’ve gone beyond chic to trashy from the tightness at the thigh area (and these are boot cut jeans with a bit of stretch in the material)? I’ve seen women (mostly the younger generation) wear jeans that seem like sausage casings, and I don’t want to fall victim to that.
-Sausage Links

Quote TightjeansA. Generally, jean experts say you can buy jeans a size smaller since they will stretch over time and those with Lycra and Spandex will stretch even more. I’m not sure I always agree. Always skip the dryer - you’ll preserve the color longer and avoid a bit of the tightness when you first put them on after washing. And wear your jeans multiple times before washing - like 3-7 times. I, too, have found great jeans that fit everywhere, yet seem a little snug in the thighs. I figure one crease is fine and with a few deep knee bends or squats in my jeans (don’t laugh-plenty of us try multiple ways to get a little “give” in our jeans!) then I’m fine. When you start counting the rings or lines that crease across the back of your thighs, then it’s time to skip those jeans and try on another pair.

When you go jean shopping, you need patience, the right underwear and a good attitude. Be willing to laugh at yourself and be willing to try on up to 20 pairs without getting hung up on the size. Consult a salesperson for help and try on multiple brands.

Q. I am an opera singer looking for formal gowns that have sleeves. Where can I find them? Seems like all the gown designers have forsaken the woman with unattractive upper arms! 
-Solo Style Seeker
A. You were right about dresses sans sleeves. I searched about 15 clothing sites and realized you’re up against a generous amount of gowns that are sleeveless and expensive. The best choices I found were all on and Check out the “mother of the bride” sections to find the formal dresses you seek, many of them have sleeves and are still elegant and stylish.

eDressMe Private Label
Red Evening GownLace Mother of the Bride GownCelebrity Inspired Evening Dresses
by eDressMeLong sleeve Peach Mother of the BrideShort Sleeve Mother of the Bride Dresses
by Jovani

from, left to right: eDressMe Private Label Red Evening Gown, $275; Lace Mother of the Bride Gown, $750; Celebrity Inspired Evening Dresses by eDressMe, $410; Long sleeve Peach Mother of the Bride, $640; Short Sleeve Mother of the Bride Dresses by Jovani, $550

JS Collections Brocade Jacket & Taffeta SkirtJS Collections Pleated Jacket & SkirtDavid Meister V-Neck Twist Front Jersey GownJS Collections Shadow Stripe Dress with BoleroCachet Mock Two Piece Sweater & Dress

from, left to right: JS Collections Brocade Jacket & Taffeta Skirt, $348; JS Collections Pleated Jacket & Skirt, $198; David Meister V-Neck Twist Front Jersey Gown, $368; JS Collections Shadow Stripe Dress with Bolero, $228; Cachet Mock Two Piece Sweater & Dress, $198

Q. I am looking for a suggestion on what to wear that is “dressy white and blue” yacht party.
-Boat Bliss

A. Aaahh nautical fancy. I assume you’ll be on a yacht or at a yacht club. I can help with that since I’ve been to several yacht clubs this summer with my beau who sails quite a bit. I love the idea of a white and blue party and definitely believe a dress is the best option. I am clearly obsessed with dresses this summer and they just “work” so well for every occasion. While this is obviously a nautical party in nature, there is no reason you have to succumb to that theme. You will look fresh and stylish in any of the dresses I’ve suggested below or take them as a guide when you shop online or look in your closet.

Suzi Chin Maggy Boutique Dot Halter DressElie Tahari 'Brielle' DressShoshanna Strapless Eyelet DressStrapless Guest of Wedding Dresses by BCBGKay Unger Multi Stripe Dress

left to right: Suzi Chin Maggy Boutique Dot Halter Dress, $148 at; Elie Tahari ‘Brielle’ Dress, $468 at; Shoshanna Strapless Eyelet Dress (replace the white belt with a navy or navy and white ribbon), $360 at; Strapless Guest of Wedding Dresses by BCBG, $280 at; Kay Unger Multi Stripe Dress, $310 at

Add one of these fun nautical-chic pieces from

Hand-painted wide enamel cuffOcean blue anchor pendant necklaceMaritime charm bracelet

Q. I need help with a summer dress. I am breastfeeding my five month old son, and I have to always wear a nursing bra - no strapless bras this summer. I would love a cute summer dress for a few parties going on this summer, but it seems like all the dresses have spaghetti straps. I just turned 27 and want something cute!
-Top Coverage

A. You want coverage and you want to look cute - nothing too complicated, old or body baring, so you can still wear a full-style nursing bra. And of course you want options and a chance to enjoy the dress when the nursing is over. You’ll need a dress that won’t bare the bra straps and isn’t low cut. Look for fun mini dresses to stay cool or a dress with front buttons or a wrap style just in case you want to bring the little one along and you find a private spot to nurse. You can also opt to wear a tank top under any style that shows too much cleavage or won’t hide bra straps.

Here are some options:

Inset-waist jersey dressDiane von Furstenberg Bundette ShirtdressDiane von Furstenberg
St. Jude Wrap Dress

Charles Nolan
Vintage Print DressKimono-Sleeve Knit DressesAnchor-print shirtdress

left to right: Inset-Waist Jersey Dress, $98 at; Diane von Furstenberg Bundette Shirtdress, $298 at; Diane von Furstenberg St. Jude Wrap Dress, $325 at; Charles Nolan Vintage Print Dress, $408 at; Kimono-Sleeve Knit Dresses, $24.50 at; Anchor-Print Shirtdress, $150 at

Q. I am 5’6” and weigh 135. I have had two children with one being a c-section and I have a small “pouch” left from the surgery. I do not like the way it looks in the current clothing I have. Do you have any advice on cute tops and shorts/pants that will cover the pouch and not make me look like I am pregnant again? I wear about a size 8.
-Belly Banish

Not Your Daughter’s JeansYou want to look for pants and shorts that aren’t on the down low, meaning: skip low rise styles. Jeans and pants that sit on your waist will give you a slimmer appearance. Look for bottoms that have a little Lycra to give you room to breathe while helping to slim. Check out Not Your Daughter’s Jeans, they have an endless variety that will slim your tummy. Don’t let the name throw you, these are not “mom jeans”, these are stylish bottoms that will give you good tummy tuck control.

Don’t forget about the infinite intimate apparel options that can help flatten your tummy so you can still wear what you want on the outside. Look at choices from Spanx, Barely There and Donna Karan The Body Perfect Collection which you can find at and Also, check out our style recipe Underneath It All for more slimming ideas.

As for tops, empire waisted tops can hide a tummy, but be aware that too much extra fabric can also billow out and make you look pregnant. Look for tops that have a bit of stretch again and be sure the tops are long enough to cover your stomach fully without rising up.

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